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tv   Erin Burnett Out Front  CNN  March 20, 2012 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT

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just say, president moving? >> it's for communication. president moving or flotus and potus. >> i'm waiting. >> it's important for those guys. 8 1/2 years covering the white house. one thing i learned? >> what? >> never question the secret service. >> true. >> erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. it is a big night. the illinois primary. will mitt romney finally get it done? if he wins big, what's next for rick santorum and newt gingrich? and republican budget man paul ryan youth fron"outfront." he says he's open to a trillion ondollars of new revenue. let's go "outfront." good evening. i'm erin burnett. "outfront" tonight -- pressure is on.
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polls in illinois close in less than an hour. we are in countdown mode after a couple of bruising weeks on the campaign trail and two major losses to rick santorum, of course in alabama and mississippi. mitt romney has to prove he can seal the deal tonight. 69 delegates in the state. it is the second-largest delegate grab to date. to get to the magic number of 1,144 needed to clinch the nomination, mitt romney needs every win he can get. we'll go through the delegate map in a minute. it is a little more come plifktplifk pli krichlt. can romney made in-roads with traditional evangelicals and tea party supporters? we'll get all that information font from our exit poll. two, will santorum surprise?
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the latest poll actually shows rick santorum down by 14%. even if he wins a close second he could spin it as a win because he was so far behind when you looked at the actual poll data and he was outspent by romney 7-1 in the state. number three -- how low can you go? this is the math for newt gingrich. he's loss 28 of the last 30 contests. numb new numbers today show newt gingrich spend $200,000 more than lot of than he brought in. he registers in the teens in the latest illinois poll. how low could his cash go? could it force him out of the race? and who wins the women voters. a big push by all of the candidates to get women voters and romney on the campaign trail, karen santorum doing an
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interview on this network, trying to woo women. romney has traditionally had more support in that group, but will that happen tonight? we have a real breakdown of everybody going to the polls. we are less than an hour from the polls closing and we'll be here for it until midnight tonight. john king knows everything there is to know about who's voting, why they are voting, all that sort of stuff. what are you seeing right now? >> you think just midnight, huh? >> optimistic. >> i like that. as we wait for polls to close we have our exit poll. at no surprise, the economy's the number one issue. illinois's a big, diverse state. >> reporter: the turnout is matters. 20% of the vote today comes from urban areas. 70% from suburban areas. 10% from rural areas. just telling you from past experience. that's encouraging to romney in the sense that he tends to do well in urban areas an tends to to do well in the close-in suburbs. senator santorum starts to perform well in the exit urban
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areas moving out to the rural areas. in the urban areas governor romney gets 45% of the vote, santorum second at 32%. gingrich at 10%. paul at 10%. decent lead for governor romney in urban areas. this is an interesting question we asked for the first time today. how is the economy doing? governor romney recently said he thinks it is getting a little better. is the economy starting to recover, stay the same or getting worse? look at this -- 46% -- 46% of these republicans voting today say it is getting worse. this is in the president's home state of illinois. granted they are republicans but that's important. about 34%. they think it is staying the same. 20% say it is starting to recover. among those saying it is starting to recover, among those who are probably doing a little better off, governor romney with a huge lead -- 53%-29% santorum,
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speaker gingrich and congressman paul. santorum's appeal is downscale. this could be a critical state in terms of momentum in what you well know has been a roller coaster ride. >> we talked about the 69 delegates, second biggest haul to date. but i know not all of those are up for grabs. it is a little more complicated. how does it work on the map? >> 54 delegates will be elected tonight. they are literally elected. a lot of states if a candidate wins state wide you get "x" proportion of the vote. if you win a congressional district, you get the delegates in that congressional district. in illinois a voter sees a ballot with not only all of them, john doe and susie doe. you have to vote for each delegate. you vote not only for your
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candidate but for your delegates. remember, in ohio, in tennessee, senator santorum couldn't get all the delegates because had he some organizational shortcomings. ten delegates he's essentially leaving on the table in illinois because he didn't file delegate slates so that's an advantage for governor romney. we'll know the popular vote winner pretty quickly but may take a while to count out the delegates. >> like it or not. john king with us and here throughout entire night as we cover this wall to wall. we'll see when we really find out who wins in illinois. mitt romney is holding his election party in schaumburg, illinois. how is the romney camp feeling about his chances tonight? >> reporter: listen, they feel pretty good. but as always, when you hear the expectations that are out there, oh, he's leading by double digits, that's whether -- whether their ears begin to perk
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up. in ohio or michigan where romney's won, the complaint is he hasn't won by enough. they want a very big win here. they think a big win here in imill and certainly it looks like a state where romney can pull that off, at least on the face of it, would begibb to send that signal that the romney camp has been trying to send for past couple of weeks, which is time for us all to get together now, what they would like is to hear from some of those mainstream republicans, some of those folks out there with sway going, you know what? it's time for us republicans to all gather around, find our nominee, and then move into where it really counts which is the fall election. they would like a big enough vote that would begin to send that signal and that would also a little bit immunize them from what may be a loss in louisiana saturday, one of those deep south states where santorum and gingrich tend to do very well. they want to brush off alabama and mississippi an inoculate themselves against louisiana and have a really big vote here around try to bring this thing
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kind of to a close. won't happen tomorrow but they hope it will add to it. >> thank you, candy. when you think about, talking about what's going to happen in louisiana -- rick santorum is actually in his home state of pennsylvania for this election night. jim acosta is with him in gettysburg. santorum not even being in illinois is a concession. he's looking forward, but to where? >> they are looking forward, you're right. the fact that they are in pennsylvania tonight is a pretty good indication they don't expect to win the illinois primary tonight. i spoke to someone inside the santorum campaign early this afternoon and they said, look, we hear all this talk about illinois being vitally important to the direction of this campaign, but keep in mind, there's a primary in louisiana on saturday. yes, romney may win tonight but we may win in louisiana and then we start all over again with talk where this campaign is headed. i think one thing you will see tonight is rick santorum talk a lot about where we are this evening. we are in gettysburg.
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civil war battlefield is just down the road. he's been really talking lately about the heart and soul of the republican party. i think we'll see his speech tonight steeped in that kind of language, that same source inside the santorum campaign told me look for rick santorum tonight to go after mitt romney on the anniversary that's coming up for the president's signing of obama care, the health care law that was modeled very much after what mitt romney passed in massachusetts. the message from the santorum campaign, once again to the republican party is, hey, wait a minute, here's another stop sign, here's another road sign on the way to tampa. if you nominate this guy we can't go after president obama on obama care. >> thank you very much, jim. newt gingrich also setting his sights on louisiana. could be make or break. joe johns joins us now from new orleans. joe, what is gingrich's strategy there and is it fair to say that really could be his last stand? is th that is a must-win. >> it is funny, every time we say last stand, newt gingrich does something else. i wouldn't venture to guess whether this is his last stand
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or not but i tell you this, he's in louisiana because it is pretty clear he didn't have a lot of traction in a state like illinois. and here in this state, newt gingrich sort of made some waves today when he jumped all over a statement that was made by the actor, robert de niro, at an obama fund-raiser in new york. de niro made a joke. he said america isn't ready for a white first lady. newt gingrich took that and ran with it as a serious thing, said he didn't think it was funny. said president obama actually needed to apologize because it was at an obama fund-raiser. the president didn't apologize, but mrs. obama issued a very short statement saying it was an inappropriate assertion. that's where we stand. what does all that mean here in louisiana? well, there are some people who think newt gingrich might be able to get some political traction in louisiana simply because that's the kind of language people want to hear, more going after the president of the united states, less going
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after republicans. still, the bottom line is, newt gingrich is in louisiana because he really wasn't expected to compete in illinois. this is all part of his southern strategy. he certainly is not a lock in all southern states. we saw that in the last set of primaries, alabama, mississippi, where he didn't win even though a lot of people said he might have to. so that's why we're here, and we'll get back to you if we have any other news, erin. >> thank you. obviously everywhere there is a headquarters, cnn is in most of the polling stations. senator paul ryan came out with a look at the republicans 2013 brutudget proposal. is a trillion ondollars in revenue really possible? the republicans continue to spend insane amounts of money on this campaign. we crunch the numbers and some of those totals shocked even a number hungry show like ours.
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brackets of 10% and 25%. this is interesting because it wasn't clear actually in the 98 pages as to whether he would eliminate loopholes even though he was angry about them. but he would, that means somebody will pay a lot more money. there are also medicare changes in there and a loot of other things. gop presidential hopeful mitt romney called the plan "a bold step," the same three words he used last year when paul ryan put out his plan. earlier i had the chance to ask the congressman if he considers mitt romney's comment an endorsement. >> well, i don't know if it is an endorsement or not. i talked to newt, mitt and rick about this budget. wanted to make sure it jives with the kind of things they're saying in their campaigns. what's important is we owe the country a choice of two futures. if we don't like the direction that's been taken our country, which we don't, it is not enough to criticize. we owe solutions. we also have a law that says you have to pass a budget by april 15th. we'll follow the law.
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the snaenate for the third yearn a row has ignored this law. >> this morning everyone was e-mailing with the headline that they felt captured your plan from the right. on the left they said this is a transfer of money to the wealthiest americans. grover norquist says your tax plan is pro-growth and common sense. your plan itself used words like failed leadership and punting to describe the president. i just wonder whether you are trying to take leadership or whether this is a really a partisan plits cal document. >> it is a plan for future because we don't think the president's led on this issue by virtue of the fact he's given us four budgets with $4 trillion deficits and literally no proposal to get this debt under control. >> when you talk about two tax brackets, the 10% and 25%, on an absolute basis, assuming anyone in the 5% bracket or lower goes
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to the 10% and everyone else goes to the 25%. i'm assuming that's what it is. but the wealthy would get the bigger cut on an absolute basis. clearly. >> we're also saying take away their tax shelters. don't forget, there are effective tax rates. the people in the top two tax brackets get almost all of the write-office, almost all of the tax shelters. if you're a wealthy person and you park your money in a tax shelter, it is taxed at zero. if we take away the tax shelters, that money is taxed at 5%. >> i'm curious, maybe grover norquist didn't read the whole plan. on page 60 you say -- you talk about the unfairness of the current tax code. you say, "the sum of all the special credits, deductions an loopholes amounts to over $1 trillion a year. that's roughly the same amount of u.s. government collects in individual income taxes each year. so in other words, these tax preferences narrow the tax base by 50%. sounds to me like are you open revenue by doubling revenue by
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getting rid of loopholes. >> the second part of the sentence is broaden the tax base like you just described but lower tax rates. here's the deal. most of our businesses we don't want to charge them with a 45% tax rate when their competitors like say in canada are having a 15% tax rate or say in china, 25% tax rate. we want to lower these tax rates to get more economic growth. we think we can get at least at much revenue in the federal government through this kind of system but we think it will be more at the end of the day because it will create jobs, give us certainty and make it easier for businesses to succeed and hire people and that brings in more revenues to the government as well. >> i understand that's all the logic in tax cuts. people say if you cut onerous tax rates you stimulate economic growth and that makes up for the lost revenue, you end up broadening the base. that's the argument. >> we're saying go beyond that, do this on a revenue neutral basis as well so we don't lose revenue. in addition, which we aren't counting in our numbers, you'll get even more on top of the
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trillion. you'll get more -- i believe you'll get more than this tax code raises. what we're targeting is the current amount of revenues that we get through the tax code today with high rates and narrow base. let's get the same amount of revenue with lower rates and a broader base. >> one thing when you look back on the reagan ear rae, cutting tax rates from 75% to 50%. that's a huge change. that would stimulate a huge growth. from cutting rates from 33% to 25% seems like a much more difficult proposition to say that rate is going to stimulate growth. >> again we're in international competition now. reagan went down to 28% in his last tax reform. we were the undisputed economic super power of the world. we are not anymore. globalization is here. internet is here. we're competing with klein, india, japan, all over the world, canada. and they are lowering their tax rates on their businesses while we are raising ours.
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that's going to make it harder for us to create jobs. >> it is more of a competitive argument you are making as opposed to a stimulating economic growth argument. >> both, i would say. in this competitive international environment where you have countries lowering their tax rates, we need to make america more competitive. if we do we'll get faster economic growth and more jobs. >> the bottom line -- make sure i'm clear on this loophole -- when you close loopholes that means welter in americans could end up paying more than they're paying right now. under the paul ryan plan that is possible. >> yes. their effective tax rates will be higher because they can't shelter their income from taxation anymore. >> good. i just want to be sure we're very clear. that's a big issue for a lot of people as to wealthy americans paying their fair share. want to just ask you a couple questions about what's going on tonight. first, social issues have become dominant in this republican primary sishg cycle, this whole being discussed from the left
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and right. are you frustrated with the dominance of social issues in this primary given you have avenue spend time drawing up a 98-page budget propose and for this economy? >> no, we're not frustrated. i think the country knows our economy is in pearl. that's the issue that's going to dominate this fall campaign. this so-called war on women, no one -- no one is talking about denying people the ability to have contraception. that's an issue about whether the federal government can mandate that people violate their conscience and do things against their church teachings, mandate that institutions violate their first amendment constitutional rights of religious liberty and conscience. that's really a constitutional individual right issue. anybody can -- >> there are some states that are. but you're saying that's separate from the national platform. >> at the end of the day these issues will sort themselves out.
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we don't like the direction president's taking the countries, we want to give them a choice of two tuts futurfutur can decide what kind of future america will be. we need to be honest with people and show them how we would fix this problem. >> has anybody directly broached you, any of the three leaders right now about the vp? >> no. no. they're not -- they got to win this primary first before they can start thinking about that stuff. >> oh, no, they don't, but that's okay. >> all right. >> tonight at 11:00, ryan's response that to accusations that his plan hurts seniors. he'll talk about his medicare and his interest on the mortgage interest reduction and whether he regrets not voting for simpson bowls which as i look at it, does seem to overlap with his plan directly. let me start with you, ryan, someone who's coming from more of the right side of this. do you think that he made a
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convincing case? >> i think fundamentally you have to think about this as a way to draw a contrast. the truth is that it would be very hard to make this budget proposal work and i think ryan recognizes that you're ultimately going to have to come to a negotiated settlement. but you draw contrast. >> he knows this won't pass. paul, one thing that was interesting that was shift from even the way he had talked a year ago was using the word of an unfair tax system, talking about the wealthy paying their fair share, getting rid of loopholes on the wealthy that a lot of american -- american opinion is seeping through into the republican party. >> but not into the plan. as you pointed out, committing journalism, asking him to talk questions, mr. ryan couldn't answer it. he says trust me. he wrote 98 pages that he released today. nowhere in there does he specify where rich people would pay more but everywhere does he say where middle class people get hammered. let me utter a sentence of paul ryan, if he lives to be 100 will never utter -- i helped balance the budget. i work in the white house. i put together a federal budget that was balanced.
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and it created the greatest boom in american history and global history. we did it in part by raising taxes mostly on the rich, cutting spending where it wasn't working and investing in things that make us stronger an safer and smarter. congressman ryan's plan does none of the above. none. massive tax breaks for the rich, it would cause, in the words of center for budget and policy priorities, a non-partisan group, it would cause the gradual demise of traditional medicare. dose that in order to pay for tax breaks for the rich while increasing the debt. it is really a remarkable political document but it is not a serious debt reduction. >> there is one small issue, paul rain is chairman of the house budget committee and there is another committee called the house ways and means committee which is in charge of wrifting rules regarding the tax code. so unfortunately from his perspective i imagine paul ryan isn't the czar of everything that happens in congress. rather, he is there to draw a broad outline about where policy should go and it is the job of the wanes and means committee, including democrats on that committee, to work towards a negotiated compromise.
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he's offering a broad contour of where policy should go. >> and that contour is $3 trillion in tax cuts for the rich and the gradual demise of medicare. massive cuts. massive cuts in education, veterans benefits, medicaid, that everything that makes us stronger. >> paul, if you're going to really close loopholes -- i think the question will be asked how much he's willing to do that -- that does disproportionately affect the wealthy. he did say many wealthy americans could end up paying more. closing loopholes in exchange for a lower rate is something lots of democrats have also said makes sense. >> yeah, except for example he didn't give you any specifics. he a he not in charge of tax policy but his plan creeps into it where he sees it in his favor. he cuts taxes for corporations, cuts taxes for the rich, eliminates taxes for wealthy heirs, the estate tax, which almost all americans are exempt from except about the wealthiest 1% or 2%.
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he l he eliminates it. congressman ryan who stands to invest a vast fortune wouldn't pay taxes on that. >> this is a political document and it focuses disproportionately on tax policy. that's the sweet spot for republicans. it kicks the can when it comes to deficit reduction. the details that end up making the case aren't there. when he voted against simpson bowles? that's a hard burden to carry when you really carry about deficit and debt. >> he'll talk about it at 11:00 how he responds to simpson bowles and medicare all coming up at 11:00. we are just over 30 minutes from polls closing in ill pill. we're getting new data on where it may be headed. up to the minute information from john king as the polls roll in.
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we are about 30 minutes away in the polls close in illinois. it could and huge night. 69 delegates in the state, 54 at stake to be allocated tonight. it is one of the biggest delegate grabs of the year. john king with us, john avlon and romney advisor kevin madden joins us now as well. what about the delegate math though from the man who knows this better than anyone in america -- john king. tell us what you see the delegate map. >> that's a set-up line if ever i've heard one. then the other two guys beat me up. i know who it works.
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mr. avalon i read today said romney is not inevitable. he is correct. let's just say he wins illinois tonight and get most of the delegates. i just gave senator santorum louisiana. if romney wins illinois, santorum not even half that. you got to get to 1,144. fast-forward to the end of the process for the sake of the conversation. i want to play with some of these states. say for example, santorum people say no, we can play here. other santorum people say we can play in indiana. these will be key contests, west virginia, i'll give to santorum, north carolina for the sake of this hypothetical, santorum. it still has romney clinching. where else, if you look at the map. santorum under this scenario, being generous, louisiana, texas and wisconsin, indiana, what has to happen for senator santorum
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is under this scenario, romney would clinch by the finish line. how does senator santorum stop him? he has to win all of these states. then he would have to take away one of the big winner takes all. like california or georgia. but if you look at the math right now, governor romney is winning a majority of the delegates. he only needs 49% from here to the finish line. senator santorum is winning 20% up to today. he needs 70%. you can run that by the math experts. you guys tell me, who changes the map and how? >> all right, john avlon, who changes the map and how? >> i think the thing to remember right now is that it is not about what candidate can beat mitt romney. it's about whether the other candidates can block mitt romney from getting 1,144. that's the larger game. reason this year is different than all other before, the rnc changed the rules to proportional delegates and the
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and sense absence of super pacs. they can play a long game looking to this convention. >> blocked from winning, then at the convention have you a contested situation. >> it is not about who is ahead in the delegates. that's the wrong metric. it is about whether anyone can get 1,144. >> are you confident mitt romney can get there all the way to the convention to avoid an incident? >> very much so. i disagree with john. i don't think this is about blocking anybody. i think voters are looking to support who they think should be the best nominee who can beat barack obama in the general election. i think when governor romney goes out there and makes that case to voters, he continues to gain more and more support as we go through this contest. so i think that a lot of these scenarios that the two other campaigns are looking at are fantasy scenarios. their path continues to get more narrow and more narrow as we go through these contests. voters continue to look beyond governor romney. a lot of voters are now starting
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to coalesce around governor romney. they very much want to see this process come to an end, at least they are starting to see this process come to an end and they do want to turn their attention to our common opponent as republicans, which is president obama, beating him in november. >> tonight obviously will be a very big night to see what sort of margin of victory mitt romney can get if indeed he gets the win. i know there was a conference call today, rick santorum's team trying to fight back, here is a way we can get to 1,144 before the convention. you've looked at the numbers. did that call make sense? what are the chances that they could achieve that? >> let me switch this scenario and show you a santorum strength scenario. get you all the way to the end. come back to today. this still has romney winning even if santorum wins almost everywhere. again, if you take this away, give it to santorum, i can block romney. i can give you a reasonable -- if santorum suddenly starts winning everywhere, he just gambled in puerto rico and he lost. looks like he's not going to do it in illinois.
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at some point for the santorum scenario to work they have to start beating romney not just 52%-48 where is been they're also counting on states to go back at arizona, florida, for example, to rewrite rules for the convention to allow more delegates. they expect to change the math later. under their scenario my red sox won the world series last year. my red sox didn't even make the playoffs plp the playoffs. there's too many ifs, ands and buts. can they block governor romney? yes, very hard. sure. but it's never been done before. if i were a campaign advisor and i'm not, i would focus on blocking governor romney, try try to get to 1,144. that's conceivable, still a long stretch but conceivable. >> even the romney camp acknowledges now it is looking like june. the big challenge for them is can they start unifying the
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party behind them. because to date, still 60% of republicans have voted for somebody else. for a candidate with such huge organizational money advantage, that's a real weakness. >> thanks very much to all three of you. we appreciate it. results from illinois's primary today are continuing to come in. did mitt romney get that big double-digit slam that he needed or not? we're just 25 minutes away from those polls closing in illinois. we'll talk about what a big win for mitt romney would mean for everyone, including ron paul and his incredibly passionate supporters. mix business... with business. and from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle. and go. you can even take a full-size or above. and still pay the mid-size price. i could get used to this. [ male announcer ] yes, you could business pro. yes, you could. go national. go like a pro.
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mitt romney has outspent rick santorum by a margin of about 5-1 in illinois, shelling out $1.1 million to santorum's $200,000. and that's just the spending from the actual campaign. it doesn't take into account money from where the real money is -- super pac land. if you include super pac spending it widens the spending margin to 7-1 in mitt's favor. in the chicago market alone, the margin of spending is 21-1. that's one hell of a margin. mitt is already ahead in illinois in terms of votes so why all the spending? if he wins big it could be the psychological knockout that he needs to finally clinch this nomination, which brings us to tonight's number -- 2.7 million. that's the dollar amount mitt romney's super pac spent on march 6 wisconsin was super tuesday.
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the last time romney was looking for a big knockout. his super friends dropped almost $3 million in a day. why is that number so scary? it is $200,000 more than what the other candidate super pacs spent in the entire month of march. wow. the illinois primary results are just moments ago. we are bea 19 moments away. the big question remains whether rick santorum's tough week cost him delegates. mitt romney and his super pac has significantly outspent in illinois. mr. santorum was criticized for saying this -- >> i don't care what the unemployment rate's going to be. doesn't matter to me. my campaign doesn't hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates. >> i think it is only fair to say that rick santorum was trying to talk about his campaign being linked to his morals and his belief about where the country stands and it wasn't just solely an economic campaign. but obviously it comes after many are wondering why he spent a couple of days in puerto rico
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where he got no votes. i mean i'm -- i got to say, i forgive him for this picture. you got to take a break. anyway, let's bring in political contractors john avlon and david fr. the problem remains is that a vacation may be well deserved but going and spending two days in puerto rico when you knew you weren't going to do well, then you got no delegates, that does not help. >> think what it is like to be rick santorum. he's probably getting by on four or five hours of sleep a night. when he's awake, he probably spends four or five hours a day begging for money. this is like taking your high school pick-up softball team out to play the new york yankees in front of yankee stadium and a jeering hostile crowd. it gets to you and you make mistakes. doesn't have proper speech writers, he doesn't have bolsters, he's rattled, he makes mistakes all the time. once you make one mistake you then make even more because you now begin to second-guess yourself. >> i think that's one of the reasons it's been tough to put
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rick santorum away. if that high school baseball team were putting up a serious fight against the yankees? that becomes a real problem. but objectively rick santorum has had a bad week. strategically he got some sun and maybe he has a tn running around the states, he lost two or three days when he could have campaigned harder directly in illinois. that's an unforced air. that gaffe may have been a gaffe. but in the statement with a high unemployment, that may have been a mistake. he hasn't had a great week and you may see that in these results tonight. >> david fromm, momentum polls this way, then if someone else wins that week all of a sudden they surge in the polls. it looked like santorum had a real opportunity. it was almost neck-and-neck within the margin of error in illinois. it doesn't seem that way right now. did he have an opportunity to win or at least come close to
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tying ill snil. >> in illinois? >> i don't think so. the other thing you have to say, what does momentum mean? if it means a blip in the polls, that's not so important. in the past momentum means you do well and suddenly you raise money and become more competitive. john mccain after he won new hampshire in 2008 raised money. it wasn't just momentum like a dot on a chart, it was something you could use. rick santorum hasn't been able to translate success into money because he's so massively rejected by the republican donor class. >> that's true, the big money has been behind mitt romney from the beginning, whether they like him or not, that's the bet they made. >> absolutely. other candidates are looking for small dollar donors. big thing is that rick santorum when he's had the opportunity for these big upsets in michigan, ohio, hasn't been able to seal the deal himself. he hasn't had the serious momentum changer that could help draw in more money. >> we are tonight, 15 minutes away from the polls closing in illinois. more data coming in from exit polls. john king and wolf blitzer next. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics...
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we are just a few minutes away from the first results out of illinois. polls are closing at the top of the hour. exit polls give us a little bit of perspective on who turned out to vote and why. john king and wolf blitzer are here right now and john is at the magic wall, and there of course is wolf, also liking like he is at a magic wall. john, what are the rolpolls say? >> we've got very interesting,
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who in the state voted? an interesting one -- we know collar counties right around chicago are critical to governor romney. 36% of the vote came from that area. 51%-31%. that's pretty good for governor romney. these are the collar counties just around colorado. what about the rest of northern illinois? outside of chicago suburbs and go west, senator santorum carries those areas, not by much but he's beating governor romney across the rest of illinois. this sen couraging e is encour santorum campaign. this has been a statistic we've looked at in every exit poll in every state. if you make less than $50,000, senator santorum tends to do best here, governor romney has always done best here. what about this chunk? 34% of the respect voters make between $50,000 and $100,000 a
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year. romney winning but just narrowly over senator santorum. will it be interesting to see how the other blocs turn out. another one, this one i found interesting. among catholics who attend is a catholic. identify themselves as catholics. governor romney with a slight lead over senator santorum. this is regular church-going catholics. what about church-going protestants? look at that. senator santorum leads among protestants that go to church regularly. it's fascinating in a diverse state. no surprise the economy has been the number one issue in every state so far in the republican primari primaries. the budget deficit has been the number two issue. this is the first time we asked this question. remember governor romney said the economy's getting better. and some republicans said should he be saying that?
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35 34% say things are about the same. in the president's home state, half of the voters today say the economy is getting worse. >> but realistically, illinois in november, the home state of the president of the united states, a state that almost always in the general election goes democratic, that the democrats at this point should be concerned about. >> the only thing we will look at in election night was was it closer this time than the blowout last time. president obama will carry his home state. that part of the country, the midwest, half of the people in the home state. these are republicans, mind you. may look unfavorably on the president. this is an interesting question. is governor romney, is he too conservative? not conservative enough? or about right? among those who say he's not conservative enough, senator santorum carries that vote by a
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healthy margin. erin, a lot of people say romney is not our guy. then look. this is the goldilocks test. >> you know what i don't like about that question? is he conservative enough, not enough? it depends on your definition of the word conservative. there are conservatives out there who may be liberals but think they're conservatives. >> very conservative voter in illinois is not the same as a conservative voter in mississippi. one of the fascinating things we learn about the 50 state puzzle that is our united states. if the race keeps going like this, we may touch all 50 of them. >> one more point. it's going to be interesting to see at the top of the hour when all the polls in illinois are closed if we will be able to make a projection or not. >> excited to see if we can. our coverage continues after this. we always hear about jobs leaving america.
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santorum's last to deal the romney forces a hard right hook. wolf blitzer joining us. john king running the numbers at the magic wall. glor gloria borgen here. the polls are about to close. and we will of course go to wolf blitzer as soon as the polls close to try to call this race or know how soon we may be able to call it. gloria, in terms of what you're looking for tonight, what should the people at home watch? >> i think we want to see if mitt romney first of all can win this state by a large margin. i know in the campaign they really want to do that. >> that would give a sense of inevidentability. >> it would give a sense of momentum at least. louisiana's right around the corner. so rick santorum might be able to do well there in the south. i'm going to look at women voters and see how they are with mitt romney versus rick santorum. the big thing we need to look at and see if mitt romney continues
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to win in the urban areas against those all-important suburban voters. because that's where the election is really going to be. >> rick santorum has not got the suburban voters in the past. >> i think he's got the most here tonight. he went to puerto rico and didn't spend time in illinois. he's disorganized in illinois. his message has been off. he doesn't have a consistent message on the economy. he can't seem to control himself on the social issues. he's got a lot riding on this tonight. >> we look at our rick santorum headquarters in gettysburg, pennsylvania. we are watching the primary in illinois. polls close in a few minutes. wolf blitzer and john king are standing by. what are you recommending people look for tonight?
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>> if romney does win illinois, all the earlier polls are suggesting he would. is it a major landslide? was it close as in michigan and ohio? how does he do outside of chicago and the chicago suburbs? i'm looking down state. i think there will be trends that we're going to be able to discern looking down the road. it looks like this is shaping up as a two-man race. rick santorum, mitt romney. so we're going to be able to hopefully get a better sense of where we're going down the road. not only louisiana next weekend, but eventually in wisconsin, maryland. we've got big states. new york, california, texas. we've got a lot of states coming up. >> john king, this is as close to a two-man competition that rick santorum has been able to have. newt gingrich and ron paul not competitive in the state of illinois. >> so a big romney win would undermine the santorum argument say give me a one-on-one shot and i'll win. if he goes after